Saturday, October 22, 2016

Giveaway: Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone limited edition eyeshadow trio

I spotted a full fall limited edition Wet N Wild display at my nearest CVS recently, and since I knew there were people who had been looking for this Plaid to the Bone trio without any luck, I decided to pick up another one and do a giveaway. Obviously this isn't a high value prize, but it's a fun one. You can see my swatches of the trio here.

Giveaway details:

Prize is one (1) Wet N Wild ColorIcon Eyeshadow Trio in Plaid to the Bone. Giveaway open internationally. Winner will be chosen at random using the Rafflecopter widget. Winner must provide mailing address within 48 hours of announcing the winner. If I don't receive that information, I will choose a new winner. Only the first entry option is required to enter the giveaway. All other tasks are optional and will generate additional entries.

Ends October 31, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe: I'm not too old for this?

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe

Ok, I know I just posted a review of a metallic silvery-lavender lipstick and complained that it made me feel old, and now I'm posting a photo of myself wearing navy blue lipstick and feeling fine. Well guess what? Fuck consistency.

I bought this set from Sephora, and it contains a mini Formula X nail polish and a mini Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick, both in the shade Poe. They've been on sale for $7.50 for a while now and going in and out of stock, so you might have to keep an eye on the page if you want to order online.

When I applied the lipstick at home for the first time, I immediately regretted buying it. I mean, I should have known better, because I've read a lot of pretty negative reviews of Poe, but for some reason I bought it anyway. I was curious. It's not easy to apply this shit evenly and opaquely. Just do a Google image search for it and look at all the iffy lip swatches--consider the worst ones the most accurate. The most annoying part was that, while it looked okay immediately after applying it, as soon as I so much as touched my lips together, all the color completely disappeared from the inner part. Blah.

I decided to give it another shot the next morning, however, and this time I applied it over top of Too Faced's lip primer (reviewed here). Surprisingly, the primer made a noticeable difference, despite the fact that I have tried it with many lipsticks in the past and it never helped. It does help with gloss, however, so this slippery-as-fuck lipstick must have something in common with lip gloss. I applied a layer of Poe, blotted, and added another layer. Then to clean up the edges, I used Tarina Tarantino eyeliner in Cute Robot, which is almost a perfect match, as you can see here:

Swatches of Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe and Tarina Tarantino eyeliner in Cute Robot

These are the results, which aren't perfect, but at least it's not complete garbage anymore:

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe

I actually liked how this color looked on my face. It wasn't as jarring and weird as I'd expected. (Excuse my sad-puppy expression. I know people object to the term Resting Bitch Face, but there has to be a reasonable substitute--Resting Grump Face? Nothing's Wrong That's Just My Face?)

It's interesting that both the lipstick and the nail polish really look purple in the tube/bottle, but they are definitely navy blue when you apply them. I think it must be the iridescent/multichrome shimmer, which shifts between a bunch of colors: purple-pink-orange-gold-green. The lipstick contains the same shimmer as the polish, which you can see in the bullet, but it doesn't show up much on my lips other than to add some extra dimension.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe

I posted a nail swatch on Instagram earlier this week. The nail polish is very opaque and pretty, in keeping with the generally good results I've had from Sephora's Formula X polishes, though it chipped slightly within 24 hours (not unusual for me).

So in the end, I don't think this set, at $7.50, was a waste of money, because the nail polish is nice and I managed to get the lipstick to work. On the other hand, I can't really recommend the full size lipstick at its regular price of $21, since I had to use two other products with it to get it to work. When Poe first came out, it was difficult to get your hands on blue lipstick, so it might have been worth the hassle--but now even Maybelline offers very similar options.

I don't know if I will wear this out of the house. I should. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sunscreen on a Cloudy Day: Review of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Review of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

It's very gloomy outside today, which seems like an odd time to review sunscreen--but I wear it every day, since UV rays easily pass through clouds. I have no problem doing certain things that are supposed to be "bad" for my skin in terms of aging, like sleeping (partially) face down or rubbing my eyes, but I got into the habit of wearing sunscreen on my face and neck on a daily basis in my early 20s, so it's become routine by now.

For the past few years, my favorite facial sunscreen has been Kinesys Alcohol-free SPF 30, which I reviewed here. I still like it a lot, and you can read why in that review, but to summarize, these are the things I look for in a good sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher, doesn't cause breakouts, doesn't burn or sting even around my eyes, doesn't smear or feel greasy, and doesn't cause any problems when applied over skincare products or under makeup.

In early August, I was running out of my Kinesys sunscreen, but I was also in between jobs and wanted to try something a little less expensive. I'd seen a recommendation for the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ somewhere or other, and since it was only about $8 on Amazon, I decided to give it a shot. Luckily, I wasn't completely out of my old sunscreen, because it took about 3 weeks for the Biore sunscreen to be delivered, since it shipped from Japan. But it came with a cute cat sticker, so the wait was worth it, clearly.

I've been using this stuff since September, and I really like it. You can read the ingredients list here, but I'll point out three things: it contains both chemical and mineral sunscreen ingredients; alcohol is the third ingredient in the list; and it is scented with citrus essential oils. If you prefer to avoid alcohol and fragrance, then you might not like this. (That used to be me, by the way, but I've become less militant about these things over time.) It has a sugared orange scent that lasts for a few minutes after application. I'm often annoyed by fragrances in skincare and base makeup, but this particular scent doesn't bother me--though my cat hates it, for whatever that's worth.

Unlike most sunscreens I've used (which have been from Western brands), this stuff is not greasy at all--it feels, as the name would suggest, watery. It's thin and, because the alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves you with a smooth, dry finish, you have to apply it quickly. I am used to having lots of time to spread sunscreen around my face sunscreen because of how slippery it is, but this fluid works differently, so I had to adapt my method a bit. Here's how it looks, milky and runny:

Review of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

That's about how much I typically use on my face, though sometimes I add a bit more to be sure the skin around my eyes and other vulnerable places is sufficiently covered. It might not be quite the 1/4 teaspoon that's recommended, but since it's SPF 50, I still feel like I am getting decent protection. (This recent post from Lab Muffin explains how you can get more protection even if you use less of a higher SPF, which sounds like common sense, but hadn't been thought to be the case until recently.)

Even though it contains fragrance, alcohol, and chemical sunscreen, I haven't experienced any burning or stinging. The thin consistency and dry finish means that it works well under makeup. (I've read reviews that say it doesn't, but I've tried all sorts of liquid, cream, and powder products over it without any problems.) In fact, it has a bit of a mattifying effect and some oil control properties--again, probably because there is so much alcohol in it. This effect is a welcome one for my oily-combination skin, but I can imagine that it might not be ideal for dry skin. I haven't experienced any excessive dryness, however.

I'm a fan, and I'm considering replacing this when it runs out instead of buying the Kinesys spray again, though I'm curious to see how long the bottle lasts me (I usually get almost a year out of the Kinesys) and how it feels in the winter when my skin is drier.

If you're interested in the Biore Watery Gel, I think it would work best for normal to oily skin. If you're not comfortable with a lot of alcohol or fragrance, then you should probably skip it. The Kinesys sunscreen I was using before doesn't contain either of those things.

Do you use an Asian sunscreen? Are there others you would recommend I try when this one runs out?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Alba's company really seems like a mess, right?

Hopefully she doesn't come after me for having the totally unique words "honest beauty" in the title of my blog. Well, I'm not trying to trademark them, at least.

Anyway, be careful about signing up for free trials, because you might end up subscribed and have a hard time getting out of it (though apparently you can do it online now). It seems like every few weeks there's something newly shitty going on. So funny for a company that calls itself honest.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I'm too old for this: Review of Hard Candy Metallic Mousse Lip Color in Smoke & Mirrors

Hard Candy Metallic Mousse Lip Color in Smoke & Mirrors

Before anyone accuses me of ageism, I know many people my age or older who could totally pull off this lipstick. It's just that most of my efforts to master liquid lipstick, with the exception of Stila Fiery, which I wore to my wedding, have left me feeling old and unhip and muttering about "the youth." I need to stop.

But I'm pretty excited that metallic lips are becoming popular, because as much as I like the look of matte lipstick, I'm happy to see some more variety. And I like shiny things.

In addition to my enthusiasm to get on board the metal train, a few other things conspired to make me buy this Hard Candy Metallic Mousse liquid lipstick against my better judgement. First, I was at Walmart to pick up a prescription, which it wasn't ready when promised, so I was told I'd have to wait a half hour. And of course the makeup section is adjacent to the pharmacy. Second, I was wearing the beautiful Butter London Posh Bird on my nails at the time, and it just happened to match Smoke & Mirrors almost exactly (as you can see in my Instagram post). Third, I've been thinking about getting a greyed-out purple lipstick for months. And fourth, I was very hungry and not in my right mind. So here we are. But I probably should have gone with the pinky-mauve Truffle shade instead, because the formula isn't bad.

In the tube, it has definite purple shimmer--almost pinkish in direct sunlight light the photo above. On my lips, it looks utterly gray.

Hard Candy Metallic Mousse Lip Color in Smoke & Mirrors

As the name suggests, it's a mousse formula rather than a thin liquid, which makes it much easier for me to apply neatly than something like a Colourpop Ultra Matte. The edges weren't perfectly crisp, but it looked fine from a normal distance. The texture feels just about like a regular bullet lipstick when it's on, though you can see that it does create a bit of that wrinkly-butthole look. Sorry. Not sure how else to describe it. Despite the puckering, I didn't find it drying, and I have pretty dry lips.

It stays in place well and wears off quite evenly--none of that bare inner lip nonsense. It does transfer slightly to cups and glasses, but not excessively.

Unfortunately, it's just too gray for me. It gives my whole face a sallow, undead look, which can be ameliorated a bit with some good blush. But I was hoping for a weird purple, not a scary gray.

All is not lost, though. I have actually been in need of a lipstick case for work, since my Revlon Balm Stains especially have a tendency to lose their caps in my bag. The case this thing came in, which has a mirror inside the lid, is perfect--unlike some lipstick cases it will fit a tube of gloss or a larger crayon-style lipstick. So let's pretend I paid $3 for the case and $3 for an unwearable lipstick. That feels slightly less regrettable.

It is an interesting color. For someone else. I'll have to get my metallic fix some other way.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Good fortune: Wet N Wild Limited Edition Color Icon Trio in Plain to the Bone

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Wet N Wild Limited Edition Color Icon Trio in Plain to the Bone

You know when you see an acquaintance coming toward you across the street, so you cross to the other side of the intersection to avoid an awkward stop-and-chat? But then you realize they're crossing too and you're forced into small talk that neither of you particularly wants to engage in anyway? Just me? Well, anyway, there was a CVS on that side of the street. so I ended up wandering in, and found one lone Wet N Wild Color Icon trio in the fall display, and it was the one I wanted: Plaid to the Bone. The universe was in balance again.

I don't know how likely it is that you will be able to find these eyeshadows in your local drugstore. I think they only appeared in my CVS 1-2 weeks ago, but like I said, the display was almost picked clean. I hope you do find them, though, because they are perfect and beautiful and you know I don't often gush about things. Either way, gaze on the duochrome beauty here and be in awe.

Unlike some of the weird combinations of shadows Wet N Wild sometimes comes up with, these are really well coordinated. The duochrome is basically a combination of the other two shades, which is a cool idea. I wouldn't wear them on the places they suggest you wear them (the "Browbone" shade is too dark for that part of my eyelid), but I think it would be possible to create a look using all three together. So far I have worn the duochrome on my mobile lid and the brown in the crease, and I wore the navy/teal as a liner with a matte brown shadow.


Swatches of Wet N Wild Limited Edition Color Icon Trio in Plain to the Bone

These swatches were done with a brush, not over primer. The teal took a little extra work to build up, but they're all very nicely pigmented, and they work wonderfully over primer. It's interesting that in sunlight, the middle dark teal shade, which looks like a completely matte navy blue in the pan, actually has a slight sheen to it. It does look pretty much matte on my eyelids though.

Here are a couple of comparisons (again on bare skin with a brush). The duochrome from the Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette has a similar teal shimmer, but a much redder base. The Plaid to the Bone duochrome is a neutral brown base, and the shimmer might be slightly greener. The Comfort Zone shadow is a little softer and more intense.

I also compared the teal shade to Makeup Geek's Time Travel (reviewed here). It's so interesting to me that Time Travel looks teal in the pan, but often looks navy when you use/swatch it, and the Plaid to the Bone shadow looks navy in the pan and teal when you use/swatch it. I like the Plaid to the Bone teal better.

Swatches in indirect light: Wet N Wild Comfort Zone duochrome, Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone duochrome, Makeup Geek Time Travel and Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone.
Swatches in indirect light: Wet N Wild Comfort Zone duochrome, Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone duochrome, Makeup Geek Time Travel and Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone.
Swatches in direct sunlight: Wet N Wild Comfort Zone duochrome, Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone duochrome, Makeup Geek Time Travel and Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone
Swatches in direct sunlight: Wet N Wild Comfort Zone duochrome, Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone duochrome, Makeup Geek Time Travel and Wet N Wild Plaid to the Bone
I haven't had time to take photos of these on my eyes, but I thought I might as well post swatches and review details sooner rather than later, since this won't be around for long. I'm not usually someone who goes after "limited edition" shit, and I wouldn't have made a special effort to hunt this down, but I'm very pleased that I happened upon it. It really is great. I think Wet N Wild should seriously consider making it permanent. It's much more interesting and useable than some of their other Color Icon Trios.

If you really want it and can't find it in a store, some intrepid entrepreneurs resellers gougers have snatched some of these up and are selling them for $8+ on Ebay and Amazon. Otherwise, happy hunting! An excellent duochrome for under $4 is truly a blessing unto all who find it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Recent So Choix Subscription Highlights

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Recent So Choix Subscription Highlights

I'd originally planned to review each of my boxes separately, but with moving and starting a new job, I've got pretty far behind. Instead, I decided to just write about some of the highlights of my last three boxes. This approach has the added benefit of saving me from having to review boring things like truly mediocre foundations (I'm looking at you, Hourglass Veil Fluid foundation).

If you'd like more information about how the So Choix subscription works and how it's packaged, etc., check out my previous posts. One change for the better, in my view, is that now instead of sending the smaller box inside a bigger box, the small box is just shipped in a bubble mailer. This is a plus for me, because it means it fits in my mailbox, and I don't have to go down to the apartment complex office to pick up my box.

Here's a list of all the things I sampled--let me know if there's something here I don't cover that you are curious about):

Clinique Cola Pop blush
Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup in Porcelain
Nars Eye Paint in Solomon Islands
Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love
Benefit They're Real Mascara in Black
Laura Mercier eyeshadow in African Violet
Estee Lauder Sculpting Lipstick in Carnal
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Divine Perfection Foundation in Ivoire N
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
Benefit Lemon-Aid Eye Primer

Guerlain l'Or Radiance Concentrate

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Deliciously Shiny Lip Colour in Red Heels
Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Malice
Ellis Faas Eyes Lights in Green Gold
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light

First of all, let me give a shout out to So Choix's impressive customer service (Melanie and Jason). I had trouble with the packaging on two samples. The Nars Eye Paint dried up completely within a couple of days of receiving it, and the Lancome Juicy Shaker came in a twist-up pen tube, which is designed to keep air out, so it couldn't be shaken. I send a short email to So Choix's CS suggesting that they might want to rethink how they package those products in future, because I'd heard that they were very receptive to feedback and interested in improving their packaging. I got a quick response and they sent out new samples of those two things along with some random foil samples. Nice! Then, right after I moved I got paranoid that I hadn't changed my address in time for my box to come to the right place, so I emailed to ask about that. I got a response within 2 hours confirming that the address was correct. It's just really nice to get prompt responses that indicate that the person on the other end has actually read what you wrote. That's depressingly rare.

Now for my thoughts on a selection of these samples. Here's what the Nars Eye Paint in Solomon Islands looked like when I first opened it. As you can see it was dry enough to begin cracking a bit. (Unfortunately the replacement sample, though carefully packed with an extra seal on the little jar, also dried out before I could use it.)

I did use it the day it arrived, however, but I just applied it with the stiff little brush that So Choix provided, so it's not the most precise work I've ever done.

Isn't that color fucking stunning!? I'm surprised I haven't heard more about these Eye Paints. Even a little dry, it applied very smoothly and was extremely pigmented. And it didn't budge, even though this was during the height of summer. I'd hope that the actual Nars packaging would keep the contents soft longer, but the lowest ratings on the Sephora listing are about it drying up in a couple of months. Boo.

Here's the first iteration of the Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love. When I twisted it up, I would mainly get just translucent gloss, since shaking it didn't mix in the pigment, which is kind of the whole point.

The replacement works much better (though I guess maybe it contains less product--still, it provides a more accurate sampling).

I like this stuff quite a bit. It comfortable and even a little moisturizing, and it provides a pretty, subtle tint, though not so subtle that it doesn't show up. The only thing I don't like is the strong fragrance which I can taste when I wear it. I guess it's supposed to be berry-scented, but it's also quite floral. Maybe the other shades taste better.

Here are my bare lips (just clear balm):

Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love

Clinique's Cola Pop is a blush that I've been curious about for a long time. Maybe it's just how the plummy red flower looks that appeals to me. But I'm glad I never got around to buying it, because it's all wrong for me. It's very deep and pigmented. I suspect it would work well for people with deeper skin tones. On me, it's difficult to use a light enough touch and to blend it out smoothly, especially over foundation. Below are swatches comparing it to a red blush, Stila Convertible Color in Poppy, and a plum, TheBalm InStain Blush in Pinstripe. Those two blushes both work well for me, but Cola Pop is too warm/brown (as the name would suggest).

Swatches of Clinique Cola Pop, Stila Poppy, and TheBalm Pinstripe
Swatches of Clinique Cola Pop, Stila Poppy, and TheBalm Pinstripe
I don't have a swatch of the next sample, because it would be invisible, but I have to say that I like Hourglass Dim Light much better than Diffused Light (reviewed briefly here). Dim Light actually seems to do the thing that these Ambient Lighting Powders are supposed to do, which is to blur "imperfections" and add some subtle radiance to the skin, especially after applying foundation. Mood Light, on the other hand, didn't really wow me.

I was also pretty excited by Ellis Faas Eyes Lights (I think that's what it's called?) in Green Gold. It's a liquid eyeshadow (or eye-whatever) that came in a jar almost too tiny to fit a brush inside. But it was stunning when I applied it. The macro shot here makes it look patchier than it did in person. In general, I don't think my photos do it justice. It wore pretty well, except that I had an itch on one eyelid at one point during the day, and where I scratched, the gold completely flaked off. But imagine the amazing Egyptian-style eye makeup you could create by combining this with the Nars Solomon Islands! Unfortunately, this sample dried out too before I could use it a second time. I know that So Choix is only promising one use per sample, but I hate to let something useable go to waste.

Besides Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, the only other thing from this selection that I've actually thought about buying is the Guerlain Primer (sorry, l'Or Radiance Concentrate). It has actual flakes of gold in it, you guys. That's ridiculous, and I have to flick the chunks off my face after I apply it. But it works really well for oil control and my foundation looks great on top of it. Maybe it's the alcohol in it. Not sure I could bring myself to buy something that's mostly water, glycerin, and alcohol for $74.

Anything I didn't specifically describe here ranged from mediocre to fine--but if you have any questions, just ask! I'm still enjoying this subscription, but I am starting to run low on things I really want to try (why don't they stock the lightest shade of Tarte Shape Tape Concealer?). I don't know if it will be able to keep me interested after my year is up. I'm halfway through, now.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

20% off + free shipping from Urban Decay today and tomorrow

Disclosure: Referral links.
Normally 20% off isn't really an interesting enough sale for me to post about, but 20% off with free shipping is decent. If you sign up for their Beauty Junkies program, you always have free shipping on the Urban Decay site. Use code UDADDICT to get the discount.

I also had enough points in the program for a $10 kickback, which you can combine with the discount, so I bought a Vice lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb for $5.49 shipped. I've been wishing I had a nice, sheer red. All I have are slippery glosses and opaque reds--which I know I could sheer out with balm, but then they get slippery too. I also have Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, and I love the formula, but it looks really orange on me. So here's hoping Sheer F-Bomb will be the answer to all my dreams.
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